Android was developed by a small startup company that was purchased by Google Inc., and Google continues to update the software. Android is a Linux- derived OS backed by Google, along with major hardware and software developers (such as Intel, HTC, ARM, Samsung, Motorola and eBay, to name a few), that form the Open Handset Alliance. Released on November 5th 2007, the OS received praise from a number of developers upon its introduction. Android releases prior to 2.0 (1.0, 1.5, 1.6) were used exclusively on mobile phones. Most Android phones, and some Android tablets, now use a 2.x release. Android 3.0 was a tablet-oriented release and does not officially run on mobile phones. The current Android version is 4.0.Androids worldwide market share rose 850% from 1.8% to 17.2%.
This OS is focused on easy operation and was originally designed for business. Recently it has seen a surge in third-party applications and has been improved to offer full multimedia support. Currently Blackberrys App World has over 50,000 downloadable applications. RIMs future strategy will focus on the newly acquired QNX, having already launched the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet running a version of QNX and expecting the first QNX smartphones in early 2012.
The Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and second- generation Apple TV all use an operating system called iOS, which is derived from Mac OS X. Native third party applications were not officially supported until the release of iOS 2.0 on July 11th 2008. Before this, "jailbreaking" allowed third party applications to be installed, and this method is still available. Currently all iOS devices are developed by Apple and manufactured by Foxconn or another of Apples partners.
Symbian has the largest share in most markets worldwide, but lags behind other companies in the relatively small but highly visible North American market. This matches the success of Nokia in all markets except Japan. In Japan Symbian is strong due to a relationship with NTT DoCoMo, with only one of the 44 Symbian handsets released in Japan coming from Nokia.[ Recently, though shipments of Symbian devices have increased, the operating systems worldwide market share has declined from over 50% to just over 40% from 2009 to 2010. Nokia handed the development of Symbian to Accenture, which will continue to support the OS until 2016
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